Monday, October 13, 2008
"The Life So Large and Deep"
"Spirituality is about seeing. It's not about earning or achieving. It's about relationship rather than results or requirements.
Once you see, the rest follows.
You don't need to push the river, because you are in it. The life is lived within us, and we learn how to say yes to that life.
If we exist on a level where we can see how 'everything belongs,' we can trust the flow and trust the life, the life so large and deep and spacious that it even includes its opposite, death."
from Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr
This certainly sounds like a mystery, an enigma, to my little human mind. But it is also certainly true, from what I have seen and experienced so far. So a mystery doesn't necessarily mean fiction. It can mean something that I don't understand, that I didn't create, that I cannot fully comprehend with my mind, from my vantage point. But I can still experience a part of it, and I can see that it implies a greater reality, a greater whole, than I dreamed of before.
For life to be so large that it includes its opposite, death, is a new concept, to me. Death and life would seem to need to fight each other, wouldn't they? One must win, mustn't it? Or is my life - everyone's life - lived within a larger Life, so that larger Life contains and embraces and enlivens mine? And when my little life, on earth, in this body, is over, might that larger Life still live within me, through me, in some way? If I can learn to say "yes" to Life here and now, over and over again, perhaps when my day of dying arrives, I can say "yes" to that, as well, without concern that it's the end of me. If that Life is living in me, and is large enough to encompass even death, then perhaps I can relax into its loving arms, and find out what happens next.
We know from observing the world around us that whatever is born into this life is going to die out of it, eventually. That's a fact that we cannot avoid. In accepting that, I find that I have less fear of death...and certainly much less than I did before I lay beside my daughter as she passed away. Being with Katie as she faced the inevitability of her death, facing it with her, has freed me to accept mine. I am going to die; it is a certainty. How I am going to LIVE is a question that I need to consider now. How will I deal with the gift, and the burden, that each day holds? The gift that I am alive, with a son and husband whom I love deeply, with extended family on both sides who are dear to me, with the material comforts that we enjoy, with the abilities that God has given me...and with the burden of knowing and loving Katie, but being separated from her?
I am reading a book by a forensic pathologist called Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living from a Forensic Pathologist by Janis Amatuzio. It's based upon her experiences as a doctor and a coroner, and contains her reflections on inexplicable life-after-death and near-death experiences to which she has been privy. She is the person who wrote Beyond Knowing: Mysteries and Messages of Death and Life from a Forensic Pathologist, and that is next on my list to read. Thank you, Stephanie, for your comment suggesting this book. I am enjoying her writing; it speaks to my wonderings about "the larger life," and it is comforting.